Turkey, Europe

‘Future of the rest of the world depends on Turkey'

Former Spanish PM says future of Turkey is the future of relationship between West and East

‘Future of the rest of the world depends on Turkey' ISTANBUL, TURKEY - OCTOBER 19 : Former Prime Minister of Spain Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero makes a speech during the "Special Session" panel within TRT World Forum in Istanbul, Turkey on October 19, 2017. ( Emrah Yorulmaz - Anadolu Agency )

By Sorwar Alam


Turkey and Europe are interrelated within the context of the refugee crisis as well as the crises in Syria and Iraq, Spain's former Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said in Istanbul on Thursday.

Zapatero was speaking at an open session of the international TRT World Forum titled 'We are all in the Same Boat: Regional Cooperation and Address the Humanitarian Crisis'.

He said that the refugee crisis, and the wars in Syria and Iraq were the "fundamental topics not only for Turkey but for global peace and stability".

"The rest of the world depends on Turkey," Zapatero said in reference to the peace and stability in the Middle East.

The former Spanish premier underlined the importance of strengthening the relationship between Turkey and Europe.

"Because the future of Turkey is the future of the relationship between the Western world and the Eastern world," he said. "When I was prime minister, I was always thinking on this and that’s why I always said that there has to be a link between Spain and Turkey."

Zapatero said Europe must take care of Turkey and Turkey should focus on Europe. "We need to return to this spirit of negotiation."

He said that the accession negotiations between Turkey and Europe should continue under basic democratic values as well as the basic rule of law and the principle of cooperation.

Zapatero also praised Turkey's role as the host of more than 3 million Syrian refugees fleeing their war-torn country.

"I need to acknowledge that Turkey has accepted more than 3 million Syrian citizens that is going to make history. That would be a fundamental part of history."

- Increasing role of emerging countries

The former premier also talked about the importance of reforming global institutes, including the United Nations, International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

Noting a shift in geopolitical power from the Western countries to the emerging countries, Zapatero said the creation of a new economy today "is based on the support of developing countries not of developed countries".

"Europe and the United States are becoming smaller and smaller in the global GDP. And the emerging countries like China, India, Asia in general, parts of Latin America and Turkey represent a more important role these days," he said.

He focused on a new global point of view.

"At the same time, I consider that it is important to strengthen, stimulate and keep alive a global culture of collaboration… We need to respect and collaborate with different identities, religions and cultures," he said.

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